(WFI) International Olympic Committee inspectors watched Manchester United
beat Stoke City 2-0 at Old Trafford last night as part of a check-up on
all of the Olympic football venues outside London this week.
IOC Coordination Commission chairman Denis Oswald and Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli are conducting a four-day project review of London 2012 preparations, one of the last before the Co-com’s full inspection in March.
They received VIP treatment ahead of the game at the 76,000-seat ground, which
will host a semi-final in both the men’s and women’s competitions at the Olympics.
Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov scored penalties to give their side a comfortable win over Stoke and put United level on points with Manchester
City at the top of the Premier League. City were beaten 1-0 by Everton.
Six stadia will stage the men’s and women’s football competition at the Olympics.
On Tuesday, the IOC delegation also visited Coventry’s Ricoh Arena before heading north to Manchester.
The official London 2012 football test event takes place at the 32,000-seater in Coventry on April 23. Senegal will do battle with the Asian group champions for the final berth at the Olympics.
The IOC inspectors are today visiting Glasgow’s Hampden Park ground, Scotland’s national football stadium, and Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.
Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, host of the 1999 Rugby World Cup final, is the final stop on the venue tour on Thursday.
“They’re visiting the different stadia, getting an update on their
preparations for the Games, and meeting some of the people involved,” an
IOC spokesman told INSIDER.
One of the challenges for all football venues is to
make sure they are ‘clean’ venues for the Games. It means any displays of home team or stadium advertising partners must be removed or covered up to make way for IOC sponsors. Stadium security operations are also being scrutinised by the IOC officials.
The Welsh retractable-roof venue with a 74,600 capacity is slated to host the first event of the Olympics. A women’s football match takes place there on July 25 two days before the Games opening ceremony.
Team GB’s men’s team, coached by Stuart Pearce, will begin their campaign at Old Trafford on July 26.
Oswald and Felli have previously signed off on Olympic preparations at Wembley Stadium, the 90,000-seat iconic venue that will host gold medal events in both football competitions.
The official draw for the Olympic football tournament is scheduled for April 24 at Wembley.
Tickets for the 2012 football tournament can be purchased at www.tickets.london2012.com. The sales window closes on Feb. 6.
At London 2012, the men’s and women’s football competitions will include 16 and 12 teams respectively.
The IOC delegation began this week’s “project review” of 2012 preparations on Monday with meetings in London offering “a general update on the advancement of the [Olympics] project”. Areas covered off included venue operations, sport, transport, security and technology.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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